Here's One Way to Get a Replacement Part
With parts and equipment hard to come by, HVAC services are resorting to clever hacks.
Here are today’s highlights:
If you’re paying cash, you may have to pay more.
The latest perk? Employees can take a vacation before they start.
Venture capitalists are backing founders without knowing their names.
THE RUSSIAN INVASION
It’s not just big companies that are refusing to do business with Russia: “The Chicago-based Ann's Deli & Bakery, which is known for selling Russian goods, displayed a sign at the store saying the business would no longer supply Russian-made products, per a report from the DailyMail. Jacob Liquor Exchange in Wichita, Kansas, decided to pull more than 100 bottles of Russian vodka from the liquor store and intends to feature Ukrainian vodka more widely. There's also DroneDek Corporation, a Lawrence, Indiana-based startup looking to disrupt the mailbox space. CEO Dan O'Toole says the three-year-old company, which has 12 employees, will no longer attempt to establish its drone-delivery patents in Russia as a result of the invasion.”
“Withdrawing entirely may not be wise for every business. A communications company operating in the region that's offering to help keep regular citizens informed of what's happening on the ground, for instance, wouldn't necessarily want to pull out.”
“And businesses should double-check the origins of the products they're dropping: While some bartenders are protesting the invasion of Ukraine by dumping out Stoli Vodka, the only thing Russian about that vodka brand is the name itself. (Stoli Vodka is bottled in Latvia.). READ MORE
From a Ukrainian entrepreneur:
From chef/restaurant owner José Andrés:
THE COVID ECONOMY
HVAC services are coping with longer backlogs and rising prices for parts and equipment: “That has left repair companies struggling to quickly fix and replace furnaces, boilers and other in-demand climate-control technology for both residential and commercial clients, leading to what some companies said are expensive workarounds. HVAC contractors and suppliers said full machines, parts, vans and labor have become harder to find and that prices have rapidly risen. Some said they are rethinking their relationships with their supply chains, adding inventory space and more heavily vetting suppliers.”
“When a 20-unit apartment building’s boiler went out earlier this winter, Avon, Ohio-based Stack Heating, Cooling, & Electric was called to make the fix. But the replacement part, a $500 circuit board, wouldn’t arrive from the factory for three weeks, said Brian Stack, the company’s president.”
“So Mr. Stack resorted to an option he said most suppliers wouldn’t allow, and that he never would have considered before the pandemic—he found the boiler model and bought a new one for $13,000, removed the circuit board to make the fix in the building, and returned the model to the supplier three weeks later with the new part that he had ordered. The supplier approved Mr. Stack’s return, he said.” READ MORE
Despite the chip shortage, car dealers have been doing quite well:
Paying cash for a car? You might have to pay more: “Car buyers say they are hearing from dealers that cash and financing from outside the dealership aren’t welcome. Dealers tried to get some of them to finance by quoting higher prices for cash sales or refusing to sell if they couldn’t arrange the financing, according to interviews with buyers. The hot car market, where heightened demand is meeting thin supply, is giving dealerships the upper hand, allowing them to wrangle more money and drive up their profit. Some have been selling cars for more than the sticker price, raising the eyebrows of industry executives.”
“Financing is a key profit center for dealerships, which collect a portion of the interest rate or a fee when they arrange a loan on behalf of a bank, auto company or other financial firm.”
“The financing also makes it easier for dealers to sell high-margin add-on products like insurance.” READ MORE
You’re hired. Now take a vacation! “To help attract people to come work for a tech platform whose customers are restaurant and hospitality companies—both industries hit hard by the pandemic—SevenRooms chief people officer Paul McCarthy knew he had to think outside the box. The company already offered sign-on bonuses for some tough-to-fill jobs and cushy perks like unlimited paid time off, but despite new areas of growth for the company, it had trouble getting candidates who were feeling uncertain about the prospects of its industry during the pandemic, he recalls. So McCarthy decided to try something a little different: Having all new employees take their first two weeks off, providing pay and benefits while setting their official start date 14 days before they begin doing real work.”
“For Alana Steinberg, who joined SevenRooms as a product marketing manager in January, the two weeks off was a draw. While she says she would have taken the job without it, it helped underscore the company’s commitment to work-life balance; taking a job at other companies she considered would have meant taking time off between jobs unpaid.”
“Steinberg used the time off to pursue a certification in wine expertise she’d long wanted to earn.” READ MORE
Even with omicron receding, nursing shortages are stretching hospitals: “More than a month after the Covid-19 Omicron surge peaked and began to decline, and as states are lifting Covid-related restrictions, the staffing crisis at many hospitals across the country is still running high. A shortage of nurses and other staff means fewer beds are available for patients. ... Hospitals from Los Angeles to New York have reported staffing shortages. In 15 states, a third or more of hospitals said they had a critical staffing shortage last month, according to the American Hospital Association. Nurses are among the positions in greatest demand and two-thirds of hospitals across the country have a nurse vacancy rate of 7.5 percent or more, the association said.” READ MORE
Venture capitalists are investing in crypto entrepreneurs without knowing their names: “As crypto transforms into an increasingly mainstream industry, even the ostensibly legitimate actors — start-up founders, engineers and investors — insist on anonymity. A growing number of crypto entrepreneurs, many of whom control hundreds of millions of dollars in investor funds, conduct business via mysterious internet avatars scrubbed of identifying information.”
“For months, cryptocurrency enthusiasts poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a project called Wonderland, which claimed to provide a system of exchange for the murky world of decentralized finance.”
“To take part in the project, the investors — who called themselves Frog Nation — entrusted their money to Wonderland’s treasury manager, a crypto developer whom they knew only by the profile name of 0xSifu.”
“In late January, 0xSifu was revealed to be an alias for Michael Patryn, who had served 18 months in federal prison for fraud. The price of the Wonderland token, $TIME, crashed overnight ...” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
Somebody’s Hiring All of These People: This week, Jay Goltz tells Liz Picarazzi and Laura Zander that he’s had a revelation about The Great Resignation. Yes, he’s lost some people, but not necessarily his best people. “It shook the tree out,” he says, which is why he thinks businesses should be careful right now about hiring too quickly. Meanwhile, Liz talks about her latest product, a bear-proof trash enclosure, and why introducing it has been challenging. And Laura tells us what happened with the salesman she tried to send around the country in a souped-up van. Plus: Is this a great time or a terrible time to be in business?
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren